As the spring 2011 semester draws to a close, seniors at CU are preparing themselves for what is to come once college ends and their adult lives begin.
A number of fears may stand in the way of graduates with student loans looming and a narrow job market still in recovery. However, even with these fears, some remain content.
Megan Prentice, a 23- year-old senior majoring in business management, is still in the process of narrowing in on future employment during her last weeks as a CU student.
“I’m pursuing three different job options,” Prentice said. “I don’t have a job right now, but I want to work in the business environment in order to acquire some skills before I go off to Africa, which is my ultimate goal – to start an orphanage in Tanzania.”
Searching the market for potential opportunities to build her business experience, Prentice said she is struggling with the reality that sometimes the ideal job does not always pay very well.
“It’s whether you settle for less pay in order to follow your dreams type of thing,” Prentice said. “That’s the battle that I’m facing right now. It’s hard because nobody can tell you exactly what to do.”
Aside from the pursuit of a stable career, Prentice said the transition from college student to self-providing adult is a struggle without the proper knowledge. She said CU should offer classes on self-sustaining skills for seniors.
“There are some things that you do not learn in school, like how to sign a mortgage or how to pay taxes,” Prentice said. “That’s something that the university could definitely expand upon. It’s like you’re supposed to be all grown up when you graduate. I think that I’m not the only one in that boat; I’ve talked to other seniors who feel the same way.”
Ann Herrmann, assistant director of student programs at CU’s career services, said some of these fears can be avoided if seniors take the time to prepare themselves.
“A lot of students prepare from early on in the year, like coming to our career fair in the early fall and participating in campus interviews at that point,” Herrmann said. “I would say that the students who have done all the internships, planning and organizing are doing really well at finding a job.”
She also said that students who may not feel the pressure at the time of graduation may find themselves panicking as summer draws to a close and the reality of beginning a professional job sets in.
“Students tend not to worry that much until after graduation, just before they’re leaving,” Herrmann said. “Reality sets in and now they’re supposed to be this professional person and may wonder ‘What does that mean?’.”
It is those who may not have organized their time well, missing out on internships and other opportunities, who will probably struggle the most, Herrmann said.
“It’s the students who are still exploring and haven’t had the internship experience – it’s a little more challenging for them to figure things out, but they do eventually,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not until well after college, and then it’s like, ‘Okay now I’m ready to start looking for a job’.”
Tyler Dodge, a 22-year-old senior economics major, said in his experience as a senior approaching graduation, he fears the loss of friendships and change in environment.
“Even though I am prepared for life after graduation with a job, place to live, plan, etc. – I am still unsure about what life will be like away from Boulder and away from the people I’ve come to know and love here,” Dodge said. “Graduation is a very unnerving thing. I wouldn’t say that I’m worried but I will say that it came much faster than I was expecting and that I am very sad to be leaving Boulder.”
With all the excitement of what is to come in the future, Dodge said he is already looking back at memories through his years at CU with nostalgia.
He said, “Even though there were many tough days, I feel that my time here was more than fun, but really a great time of personal growth and development that has really helped my figure out who I am.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Nora Keating at Nora.firstname.lastname@example.org.